Curse of the Starving Class
Closed 2h 30m
Curse of the Starving Class
77

Curse of the Starving Class NYC Reviews and Tickets

77%
(185 Reviews)
Positive
83%
Mixed
13%
Negative
4%
Members say
Great acting, Absorbing, Intense, Great staging, Thought-provoking

About the Show

Last produced in NYC by Signature more than 20 years ago, this new production of "Curse of the Starving Class" honors Pulitzer Prize-winning Legacy Playwright Sam Shepard, who passed away in 2017. 

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Member Reviews (185)

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MJK
677 Reviews | 187 Followers
89
Great staging, Relevant, Great acting, Absorbing, Bleak

See it if you want to see an unrelenting, 1st-rate revival of a work from Shepard's most fertile period that's as gritty, moving & timely as ever.

Don't see it if u seek pure escapism; u don't have the stomach for the relentless dysfunction of this family & the situation they represent in our society.

687 Reviews | 113 Followers
78
Well acted & staged, Disappointing, Edgy, Thought-provoking, Ambitious

See it if Early Shepard (still finding his voice) is problematic yet not w/o its surrealistic beauty esp in fracturing family unit via outside forces

Don't see it if High octane 1st act both in writing & staging turns into stalled 2nd act As imploding famlly looses its chances for escape so does narrative

668 Reviews | 156 Followers
88
Clever plotting, Mythic, A little too long, Solid acting, Smart staging

See it if you’d like to see a fine accounting of the play that sent Sam Shepard off in the new direction for which he is best known.

Don't see it if you do not like Sam Shepard’s writing, even at its most “naturalistic”. Read more

593 Reviews | 264 Followers
82
Animated but overwrought production of one of shepard's best plays; shows why he is great chronicler of the death of america's frontier

See it if primal & explosive; searing portrait of dysfunctional family in the west ground down by rapacious capitalism/exploitation; hilarious at time

Don't see it if loud, unsubtle production; meanders at times; doesn't always achieve balance btwn realism/surrealism that characterizes Shepard at his best Read more

567 Reviews | 146 Followers
80
Great acting, Great writing, Great staging, Quirky, Ambitious

See it if Dysfunctional family w/ property value& poverty nipping at their heels attempt to lift their lot to the next level.Massive prologue collapse

Don't see it if Bleak take on breaking through any ceilings. The curse=her first period. Bacon frying lingering. That poor lamb. Vulgarian behaviours. Read more

461 Reviews | 710 Followers
87
Quirky, Edgy, Intelligent, Great staging, Great acting

See it if bold, complicated characters excite you, or you’re tired of conventional shows. The brashness of this play will shake things up for you.

Don't see it if you like shows that play it safe. This production pulls no punches.

456 Reviews | 256 Followers
88
Intense, Quirky, Intelligent, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you want to see a show-stealing performance by David Warshofsky. Also, if you have never seen a production of this Sam Shepard classic.

Don't see it if your taste runs from light comedies to musicals. This play is intense and edgy.

464 Reviews | 101 Followers
85
Great writing, Great acting, Great staging, Clever

See it if You enjoy Sam Shepard. I really do think it’s that simple if you like sam you will like this show

Don't see it if You are looking for a fun and fluffy piece of theater. This is dirty. It’s all about a messed up and dysfunctional family Read more

Critic Reviews (27)

The New York Times
May 13th, 2019

"Watching the very entertaining first half of Mr. Kinney’s interpretation of 'Curse,' I wondered why it doesn’t come around more often. I had stopped wondering by the end. 'Curse' features some beautiful, signature Shepard writing, in which primal desperation becomes fervid poetry...The plot, though, seems to thicken like clotting blood...We aren’t as rattled as we should be by the play’s more violent and congested second half."
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Time Out New York
May 15th, 2019

“Kinney and his cast find memorable moments in Shepard’s darkly satirical play...Time has diminished some...shock value and the Signature’s production doesn’t dig deeply enough into the feeling the play seems to be after: It doesn’t pulse with the agony of stunted existence. But Shepard’s potent writing, with its raw pain and rich symbolism, still resonates. Its depiction of a white rural family worried about losing its homestead...seems very much in step with the national mood.”
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New York Magazine / Vulture
May 13th, 2019

"It should heave and churn with bitter discontent and sloppy ambition, delusion and shame. But it’s a tough, flawed nut, and it’s not profiting from Signature Theatre’s current revival, which mostly plays the unwieldy material straight down the middle. As a result, the play feels diffuse and almost plodding in its long first act, and the lurid transformations and deadly outbursts of its second act are consequently dulled."
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The Hollywood Reporter
May 13th, 2019

"Shepard's plays are tricky balancing acts. They need to be staged by directors and actors in touch with the late playwright's distinctive, off-kilter vision. That's certainly the case with this production...Kinney could have picked up the pace faster, and the decision to condense the first two acts results in an overly long, 90-minute first half. Nonetheless, the work's raw power and bleak humor resonate strongly, thanks to the ensemble's fully invested performances."
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The Observer
May 13th, 2019

"May be overlong and lopsided, but still throws off sparks of that crazy Shepard vibe...Kinney’s staging is tight and propulsive, and he guides the actors to unlocking pure moments of animal magnetism...For the long (90-minute) first part of this production, Shepard’s black humor and the hard-working cast keep the gritty nonsense humming. It’s the final 40 minutes after intermission where things go truly bonkers and, sadly, dull."
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Theatermania
May 13th, 2019

“The richness of the stagecraft in...Kinney's production feels obscene when one considers the story...These expensive-looking alterations are to the detriment of the script...This play about poor people shouldn't feel like it was art directed for Vogue. The performances vary...’Curse of the Starving Class’ is still brutally perceptive in its dreamlike depiction of American society, but it's hard to see that through the self-defeating opulence of this revival.”
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BroadwayWorld
May 14th, 2019

“Latecomers to...Kinney’s finely-acted revival of Shepherd’s dysfunctional family drama will miss the show stopping bit of stagecraft that opens the production...This symbolic visual that serves as the background for the entire piece seems to reinforce the verbal symbolism in the playwright's text....’Curse’ won Shepard an Obie and...helped establish the playwright as a unique voice that used dark humor to dissemble the traditionally romantic view of America's rural landscape.”
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Lighting & Sound America
May 28th, 2019

"The passage of time, aided by Kinney's lovingly detailed production, casts it in a different light; today, it seems an uncanny depiction of gnawing dissatisfaction in the American heartland...The characters' reckless, self-sabotaging pursuit of wealth and escape leads only to ruin...Kinney's cast is exceptionally adept at serving up this buffet of bad behavior, especially when it comes to switching emotional states, and tactics, on a dime.”
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